By Cary Shuman
There is no stopping Jonathan Boudreau in the world of candlepin bowling.
The 20-year-old Lynn resident affirmed the growing belief that he is the best bowler in the sport by taking home the prestigious Easter Sunday Classic championship trophy at Leda Lanes, in Nashua, N.H.
Boudreau prevailed over a field of 51 professional bowlers in the 20-string tournament by knocking down 2,631 pins for a sensational 131 average. He bested second-place finisher Chris Sargent (2,530) by 101 pins. Dave Barber, another outstanding Lynn bowler, finished in third place at 2,524. Lynn’s Shawn Baker was 13th at 2,410.
Boudreau received a $3,500 cash prize and a large championship trophy that joins the numerous other awards in the family’s expanding trophy case.
A junior at Lesley University, Boudreau was brilliant in the late stages of the tournament. He capped off his big day with a 159 score in the 20th and final string. He had scores of 160, 150, and 144 in strings 13 through 15 and averaged 138 for the final 10 strings.
“I was third at the halfway points after ten strings and I didn’t take the lead until the 16th string,” said Boudreau, who finished second, fourth, fifth, and seventh in previous Easter Classics.
How does it feel to beat the best as the youngest competitor in the field?
“It feels good. It was a great day. I think this is the toughest singles tournament in the game because of the length and the field of the bowlers.”
The tournament began at 11 a.m. and continued for 10 strings. The bowlers took a lunch break and returned to the lanes for the second half of the tournament.
The case is building for Boudreau as the undisputed king of candlepins.
Chucky Vozzella, owner of Central Park Lanes, said that Boudreau is clearly in the top three of all current professionals. “I put Jeff Surette, Chris Sargent, and Jonathan Boudreau as the top three right now. The sky is the limit for Jonathan. He’s just an unbelievable bowler. If they had the television show now, Jonathan Boudreau would be another [Tom] Olszta and be on the show all the time.”
Brandon Marks, who finished sixth in the Easter Sunday Classic and is Boudreau’s state championship doubles partner, said when Boudreau is on, no one is better.
“Jonathan’s performance in the Easter Classic was incredible,” said Marks. “His best bowling was in the end when he needed it the most. I think Jonathan is the best in the game right now. On any given day, anybody can win but going in to a match, I think he is the hottest bowler, so I think he is the best bowler out there.”